Construction of Ledge Doors


The following is excerpted from “Doormaking and Window-making.”

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On the principle of beginning at the bottom, we will in the present chapter take in hand the making of the “ledge” door, and what comes next to it in simplicity – the “framed ledge” door.

The former can be dismissed very shortly, the boards and ledges being prepared according to instructions in Chapter I. The whole of the former must be laid, face downwards, either flat on the bench or on two pieces of timber as wide as the ledges. They are then cramped up fairly tightly, and the ledges laid on them. The top and bottom ones of these must be fixed first, squaring them across at about 5 ins. from the respective ends of the door, and fixing them at each end with two screws in each. The intermediate ledges are then fixed in the same way, keeping them at equal distances between. A single nail can now be driven through two of the ledges into the middle board (to prevent the boards from springing out), and the door turned over. The position of the four ledges must now be squared across on the top side, as the door lies, as a guide for nailing.

Two methods of nailing are shown in Fig. 21. That shown at A is favoured by a good many persons, but the writer prefers the other (B), as not being so liable to split the ledges, and also as acting more as a brace.

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When the whole of the nails are driven in, they should be sunk still further by punching ; the door can then be turned over and the nails clinched neatly, also using the punch.
The screws in the ends of the ledges (Fig. 22) are sometimes omitted, but this is a mistake, as they add very much to the strength of the door. Another mistake often made is the use of too long nails­ – 2 in. nails are long enough for a 1-in. door, 2-1/2-in. nails for 1-1/4″-in. door, and so on. If longer nails are used, instead of the points bending over and adding to the strength, they break off, and nearly all the holding power is gone at once.

We now come to the important matter of bracing, which is necessary for all doors over 2-1/2 ft. wide. The usual method is to brace them as Fig. 23, notching the ledges to form abutments for the ends of the braces; but after testing the matter in various ways, the writer has found that a door braced as · Fig. 24 will keep its position far better than one braced the other way, while it is far easier, more quickly done, takes less material, and presents a better appear­ance-consequently it is always adopted by him.

As will be seen by Fig. 24, the braces are simply cut between the ledges, and fixed by nails or screws ; the latter should at least be used at the ends.

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We now come to the framed ledged door, which was sufficiently described in Chapter I to enable anyone to recognise it without further description. We can therefore presume that the framing is planed up and the boards prepared, and will proceed at once to set out the door. This requires a “setting-out rod,” on which is marked the full size, with every mortise, tenon, bead, rebate, etc., and this rod is shown in Fig. 25 (A). The full height of the door is from C to D. E is the mortise for top rail; F the haunching for same; G the mortises for the ledges; H the space from bottom of door to bottom ledge; and I the spaces between the ledges, which must be all equal.

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To set out the stiles, lay them face to face on the bench, and lay the rod on them, so that the lines can be transferred from the one to the other, as shown by dotted lines from A to Y, Fig. 25, which latter show all mortises squared over and wedging marked, also gauging for mortises.

The width of the door is set out on the rod at K, the finished width being shown by L, the length from shoulder to shoulder on the face side of top rail at M, and the length of the back shoulder of top rail, and the shoulders of bare-faced tenons on the ledges at N (see dotted lines).

The three ledges and top rail are shown set out and gauged for cutting at X, Fig. 25. Perhaps it will be as well to state that the ledges are gauged with a marking gauge, set to the correct thickness of the tenon required.

One stile is shown mortised, rebated, and beaded (the haunching is shown by dotted lines) in Fig. 26, while Fig. 27 shows sections of the ledges bevelled in two different ways. O is bevelled quite through, for which the mortises should be bevelled as well, while P is bevelled on only as far as the tenons, thus requiring square mortises only.

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Fig. 28 shows the back of the complete door, braced as recommended for the ledge door. The brace at the top end should be kept on the top rail; if it goes to the stile, it has a tendency to force it off, as anyone may see, if he will take notice of any doors where the brace is fixed into the angle formed by the stile and the top rail.

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It is sometimes necessary to make a door in two parts, to be hinged one above the other. Such a door is shown in Fig. 29, A being a vertical section, where it will be seen that the top door shuts into a bevelled rebate, made in the top rail of the bottom door. B shows a vertical section of a similar pair of doors; but the bottom ledge of the top door is brought down and fits closely on the top rail of the bottom door. C is a section of ordinary ledge doors hung in two parts to answer the same purpose, the top ledge of the bottom door projecting above the boards, so as to form a rebate for the top door.

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When hingeing doors such as these, the top one must be hung so as to throw up considerably, or they will bind in opening.

Fig. 30 is a cross-section of folding ledge doors, the strip R being screwed on to one door to cover the joint.

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Fig. 31 is a cross-section of folding framed ledge doors, the two meeting stiles being rebated together and beaded as at S.

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Fig. 32 shows a cross-section of a rough ledge door, in which square jointed boards are used, the strips being nailed up the joints instead of tongues. This kind of door is often used for sheds and farm buildings, and somewhat rarely in cottages.

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One more word as to bracing doors. The brace should always be at the bottom of the door on the hanging side, so that it is in compression, not in tension.

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